Nikki Giovanni to Launch National Book Tour from Knoxville

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Nikki Giovanni to Launch National Book Tour from Knoxville

Posted: 03/27/2007
University of Tennessee's Center for Children's and Young Adult Literature is very pleased to host Nikki Giovanni for a special appearance at the Tennessee Theatre at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27.

The renowned writer/poet will be joined on stage by UT's Love United Gospel Choir. The event is free and open to the public. Carpe Librum Booksellers will provide books for signing. Giovanni and her publisher, Candlewick Press, chose Knoxville for the launch of her new book, On My Journey Now - Looking at African American History Through the Spirituals. Giovanni's personal journey began in Knoxville where she was born in 1943 and where she and her sister spent subsequent summers with their grandparents after her family moved to Cincinnati, OH.

In her famous children's poem, "Knoxville, TN," Giovanni returns to her nostalgic roots with warm memories of summer in the mountains. There, she celebrates going to a church picnic where she listens to gospel music outside.

As a little girl, Giovanni was deeply inspired by the early gospel lyrics and beats of her ancestors. In On My Journey Now, she weaves the words of those spirituals with the inspiring story of Africans in America. As she paints compelling portraits of the lives of her ancestors through familiar songs such as "Go Down, Moses" and personal favorites such as "Ain't Got Time to Die," she celebrates people who overcame enslavement and found a way to survive, worship and build.

Giovanni is the author of the best-selling Rosa, a biography of Rosa Parks illustrated by Bryan Collier; The Sun Is So Quiet, illustrated by Ashley Bryan; and Shimmy Shimmy Shimmy Like My Sister Kate. Three of her poetry collections for adults have received NAACP Image Awards. She serves as University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg where she now lives. "We are honored that Candlewick and Giovanni have chosen our event as the launch of this important book," says Ken Wise, co-founder of the Center for Children's and Young Adult Literature. "Her devotion to this area is a testament to the rich literary tradition in our own back yard. She will continue to inspire young people for generations." The Love United Gospel Choir, which is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, is a student organization at the University of Tennessee with 100 students who come together to serve the campus and local community through service and song. Jocelyn Milton is the faculty advisor for the choir. Gospel music is an integral part of the African American culture and represents the theme of Giovanni's latest book.